Ganga Dhaba, one of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s legendary eateries, may shut shop after the varsity administration issued an eviction notice to the owners.
For years, the famous tea stall has been one of the centres of politics and debate in the JNU and is frequented by a large number of outsiders apart from students. Ganga Dhaba was set up in 1985. Since then, it has served hot parantha, momos and spicy Chinese food to over 1,000 students every day.
The administration and the students union have been at loggerheads since the eviction notice was sent to Ganga Dhaba, a utility shop adjacent to the tea stall, a magazine store near the Ganga hostel bus stop and a tea stall inside Brahmaputra hostel.
The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) alleges that the varsity wants to set up bigger food joints in place of these modest eateries.
“According to the registrar’s office, the shops will be allotted to the highest bidder. JNU has always stood for an egalitarian system where business opportunities were given to the underprivilege sections of society. The problem, however, is grave because the administration is not ready to engage in a dialogue,” said Lenin, former JNUSU president.
The university justified the decision saying that the shops had stayed ‘illegally’ on the campus as their contract period had already ended. Two eviction notices were issued — one in March and another on June 7. Intervention by students from time to time had prevented the eviction till now.
“These low-price shops on the campus kept us safe from growing inflation outside. People fondly remember these landmarks as a part of JNU,” said Shivendra Guha, a PhD student.
The dhaba owners alleged the university administration was not allowing him to bid. “We have successfully catered to the needs of the students and the staff in the university. But now we are being asked to leave the place without a chance to bid for this place,” said Sushil Rathi, owner, Ganga Dhaba. He stays in nearby Munirka Village. The dhaba is open from 4pm to 2am every day.
JNU Vice-Chancellor Professor S K Sopory said he had no knowledge of the issue.